Organizational Philosophy and Culture

One could devise improved processes and systems but ultimately these are operated upon or made to deliver through people working in the organization and handling these processes and systems. Therefore the need is to:

(i) Develop technical and interaction skills of the employees’ specific to their jobs.

(ii) Keep the employees informed about related aspects such as
* Specific customer needs / expectations
* Specific market developments and changes
* Organization’s mission and specific goals.
* Organization’s policies and procedures
* Critical requirements / factors for quality
* Processes that an employee may operate or interact with
* An employee’s specific role, responsibility and authority
* Metrics that are used to measure performance
* Rules and regulations of the regulating bodies
* Values important to the organization

(iii) Widen the employees’ knowledge about the market in general, its trends, competition, their organization’s role in the market and in the society and the organizational culture and philosophy. Skills, information and knowledge are the three areas where the organization needs to constantly improve the employees. This could be done through (a) training, (b) providing information and (c) education (formal or informal).

Organizational Culture:

An employee could be imparted skills, be well up on information and be educated to understand the organization’s philosophy. Skills, information and knowledge do not amount to the employee’s involvement, which needs ‘motivation’. It requires transformation in the way person thinks, behaves and acts. This transformation has to occur in all the employees. Since it consists of individual as well as group behavior, it amounts to the organizational culture. The organization’s culture has to be transformed as a part of TQM program as the desired attitudes, beliefs and behaviors on the part of the employees at all levels.

It is this culture which will inspire an employee and guide him in decision making in his job. True empowerment of the employee cannot come unless there is the organizational culture supporting it. An employee in delivering his task may come across cross roads of decision. It is the organization’s culture and values imbibed in him which will guide him in decision-making. Same is true about team behavior. Team work may be desirable and necessary, but it has to be fostered. It has to come as an organizational value—part of the organization’s culture. Though team work and conflict management have a significant component of skills, these should be manifest as internalized behavior. To take another example: Integrity above everything else may be a desirable characteristic in the employees but it can be taught to a limited extent, and has to be brought in through a cultural a cultural transformation. In short, organizational culture inspires, guides and supports an employee in carrying out his tasks

Leadership and commitment:

Developing the desired culture is largely the function of the top management of an organization. Instilling a culture requires a transformation in the individuals, in the teams and in the organization. In this transformation, the part played by the leaders in the organization cannot be over emphasized. The top management cannot ask for the desirable values to exist in the employees at other levels, unless it demonstrates those values. If it is not committed to satisfying the customer’s requirements, one cannot ask the lower level employee in the shipping department to be committed to delivering a shipment to perform under all circumstances ‘come what may’. The other aspect of effective leadership is its clarity of vision regarding the goal. Commitment and clarity of vision drive the leadership phenomenon.

What TQM asks for is transformational leadership. There is no doubt that the higher level management has to show the way. The organization’s senior leaders have to set the directions, develop values and increase expectations. They have to be the role models. Their own value systems, attitudes and behavior have a great bearing on the outlook of the lower level employees to get involved in the organization’s activities and programs. It is the top management’s commitment that drives the transformation within the organization.

TQM needs such creation of leadership at all levels. Quality is about all tasks done excellently by the respective persons. Empowerment is not just a transfer or conferment of authority. It is about people ‘feeling’ empowered .It is only then that they bring the initiative, energy and creativity into their respective tasks. Employees should feel fulfilled in doing their tasks. The top management should cause such seeking of fulfillment by these employees.

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